Although the majority of Cliff Richard’s hits have come with songs written expressly for him, or that he was the first to cut, the outside repertoire that he has recorded throughout his career has been more interesting than the choices of many of his contemporaries. Sir Cliff was not the only home-grown rocker to cover US material but, unlike his peers, he seldom went into a studio and simply made over the latest fast-rising American hit. With the help of his long time A&R man and producer Norrie Paramor, Cliff found a formidable number of fantastic songs hidden away on obscure US 45s and albums unavailable here.
Having previously celebrated the good taste in covers of his early hero in “Elvis Heard It Here First”, Ace felt it only fair to follow up with a companion volume that does likewise for the Peter Pan of pop. The tracks selected for “Cliff Heard Them Here First” show just how broad Cliff’s tastes were.
Most of his early singles featured original songs, but the material on to his many albums was something else again. “Cliff Heard Them Here First” brings you the original versions of two dozen songs which found their way into Cliff’s discography, ranging from gospel-influenced R&B (Ruth Brown’s ‘Somebody Touched Me’) to rockin’ doo wop (the Jayos’ ‘Tough Enough’), and from ultra-obscure west coast teen pop (Pete Votrian’s ‘We Have It Made’) to a little known Elvis Presley track (‘Angel’).
The booklet reflects the importance of the music that’s preserved here, with copious notes, label shots and ephemera for each track. All but one is new to Ace CD and several of them have never been reissued before in any format. Although the majority of our tracks stem from the first ten years of Cliff’s recording career, there are also examples of songs that Cliff came across and recorded in the early 70s, which show that his ear for a good song and a great record have never deserted him.
These tracks have stood the test of time as well as Cliff’s own career. “Cliff Heard Them Here First” is our salute to the man and the great taste he showed in embracing these songs.
By Tony Rounce